"Bitch Cakes" (Sheryl Yvette) is an online personality who gave up her car 10 years ago to enjoy car-free living in New York City.
Her sentiments as expressed in a recent Instagram post wonderfully make the case for trying to get Tampa Bay there.
Says it Perfectly.
You can click here for the larger readable image or read the text below:
Yesterday makes it a full 10 years that I've been car free. Having driven and owning cars for 20 years, I was terrified but thought it was the right thing to do (traffic nightmares, parking insanity, costly insurance, mounting repair bills...) Within a week I knew out was one of the best decisions of my life. I actually felt FREE. Free from the burden of car ownership and all the accompanying stresses and bills. I switched to the bus and subway (unlimited monthly MetroCards were $76) and I fell in love with mass transit. It would take a few years for me to realize I could bike pretty much everywhere. Now I bike the majority of the year and use mass transit when I'm not on my bike- and I'm saving literally thousands of dollars per year. I was sad in this picture but never regretted that decision. #OneLessCar
Obviously Tampa is not New York City where most people go without a car as a matter of course (I find it amazing she clung on to one at all for as long as she may -- those in the deeper regions of Queens or the other outer boroughs frequently do though), and Tampa cannot become a pedestrian comfort zone to the level of NYC over night.
Owning a car means being "car captive" and there are far too many who are invested in keeping things that way. Remember Tampa Rail's old tagline, "Car Captive $tatus Quo"? Some 20 years later, it's still true.
Living with and maintaining a car is a kind of hell in today's America; somewhat like trying to "own" a house. We try to do it because it worked in the 50s, 60s and 70s, yet while in clinging to the model, economic working life is nothing like in those decades.
If you have a car you experience a "kind" of freedom that seems all liberating in most urban areas because you are able to get to and fro among places designed with automobile connectivity in mind.
And yet, you are most certainly mining that freedom out of debt and with little understanding all the while that you can have the same freedom of movement in a culture with aggressive mass transit and pedestrian community investment.
Tepid, skeleton, or "reasonable" levels of mass transit investment are not the same as paying for and engineering truly robust and freedom-bearing transit. One that turns a city into a large car-free campus where you can be anywhere at any time without hassle or all the expense.
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